As many as 2.53 million students in Maharashtra’s government, government-aided schools have been found to have invalid Aadhar cards and another 3.45 million have been enrolled without the mandatory Aadhar registration. The numbers have been collated from data shared by schools as part of the state education department’s drive to update student UID (unique identification number) aka Aadhar card registrations.
In July, the state’s education department issued a government resolution (dated July 5, 2022) making it mandatory for government, government-aided, permanently unaided self-financed, English and Urdu schools to upload and link enrolled K-12 students’ Aadhar details on the state education and sports department’s student online database platform, SARAL. The total number of students registered on SARAL is 22.45 million.
School admissions in Maharashtra have been linked to Aadhar since 2015. Data uploaded on SARAL entitles schools to government grants, staff recruitment approvals, teachers’ salaries, etc. Students listed on the platform can avail government-introduced student-oriented schemes. While the deadline to upload and link Aadhar is December 31, schools have been asked to provide monthly reports on the same.
The current exercise will ensure students have access to the mid-day meals schemes from January 1, 2023. While the mid-day meal scheme has already been in force since 1995, the state administration intends to streamline its budgetary allocation for the scheme based on the actual students registered on SARAL in the new year.
With the education department holding schools responsible for getting students to avail of the state government’s benefits, the work has ultimately passed on to teachers.
“There is too much pressure to get the Aadhar linkages done before the deadline but many Aadhar cards have been reported as invalid due to mismatch in the names, address, gender, etc. Similarly, many students do not possess an Aadhar at all. We are following up with their parents and even taking the students to Aadhar centers cards ourselves. Teachers are used as the foot soldiers of the administration whenever a new scheme is launched. We are doing everything except the job (teaching) for which we were hired since all the work happens during school hours,” says a teacher who prefers to remain anonymous.
“There are technical glitches with the SARAL portal like the portal does not save all data despite several tries. Ideally once a student has been logged in class I, he should automatically continue to be part of the system until class VIII since students aren’t kept back. Yet each year, we have to manually promote each student. The administration needs to iron out these technical issues instead of asking teachers to do repetitive work,” complained another teacher who did not want to disclose his identity.
All school admissions in the state have had Aadhar linkages since 2015. However, an official drive to match the UID registrations to the number of students enrolled in government and government-aided schools showed major discrepancies. While 19 lakh enrollments showed mismatches, another 29 lakhs were found enrolled without the mandatory Aadhar registration.
The current drive has Pune showing the highest number of students holding invalid Aadhar cards (2 lakh) followed by Nashik (1.9 lakh), Thane (1.6 lakh), and Nagpur (1.6 lakh), Jalgaon (1.5 lakh).Posted in News, States